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Accused stays silent as murder case continues

The Belgian national charged with the murder of a French woman found dead in Kampot in February, as well as a witness in the case, appeared at the Kampot provincial court yesterday for questioning, investigating judge Hong Sokhun Vattana said yesterday.

Belgian national Oliver Van Den Bogaert in the Kampot provincial police station following his arrest in Kampot province
Belgian national Oliver Van Den Bogaert in the Kampot provincial police station following his arrest in Kampot province in April. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Vattana said the witness, whose identity has remained confidential because she is under-age, yesterday confirmed she had seen suspect Oliver Van Den Bogaert walking a bike she believed to have earlier seen victim Ophélie Begnis riding on the day of her death – recollections that had prompted police to arrest Van Den Bogaert in April.

Begnis was found dead, floating naked in the Kampot estuary with injuries to her head and arms, after she and her friend had been staying at the Les Manguiers guesthouse.

Van Den Bogart’s lawyer, Khun Sophal, yesterday confirmed that his client also had appeared at the court for questioning but said Van Den Bogaert had remained silent.

“My client did not respond to anything in the hearing,” he said.

Sophal added that the witness had not convincingly showed Van Den Bogaert’s guilt, denying that she had any proof.

He said that six or seven witnesses, on the other hand, had solid proof of his client’s innocence.

Vattana said the court had now questioned about half of the more than 10 witnesses it intends to call in the case, adding that there was no set time in which the rest would be called to answer the court.

“The court wants strong evidence on both sides, so the court takes a long time in this case, because there are more than 10 witnesses,” he said.

“We have questioned the suspect and witnesses and heard some evidence that seems incriminating and some that seems exculpatory,” he said.

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